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It was 4.10pm Friday afternoon when the phone call came in from my customer. After the usual pleasantries being exchanged, four words were uttered that none of us want to hear, particularly when you are readying yourself for a relaxing Friday beer: “Our system is down”.  

His organisation had gone into red flag mode as they were heading into the weekend with their customer portal down. A scary prospect given the likelyhood of many of their clients wanting to use the customer portal to search, book and pay for courses over the weekend. Not a good look for an organisation when your electronic front door is shut. Customers these days expect online solutions to be constantly available.

I headed straight down to our Support area and immediately my confidence was lifted. The Practice Manager was across it, our key Support person was working on it and all we needed to complete our findings was our Solution Lead to identify the likely root cause. This urgent “P1” case was being worked on in conjunction with our customer’s core IT provider, hence three-way communications were occurring.

5.04pm: problem resolved. The actual issue required server reboots, patience whilst the services came back up and – bingo – all systems were go – problem successfully solved and the customer portal up for the weekend. Result: happy customer, happy Intergen.

Further analysis of the root cause is to follow but for now people can rest easy and enjoy their weekend with the warm glow of a positive customer experience.

As I frequently do after I’ve had a bolt of adrenaline I asked myself “What did I learn? Why was this a successful customer experience – what is the magic sauce?” Thinking back over the elements there were three key ingredients to this successful customer experience.

  1. People really cared. Everyone could have said, “It’s Friday. Why should I care – let’s worry about it on Monday”.
  2. People communicated successfully with each other. All three parties were engaged in positive dialogue with the right questions being asked and the appropriate answers being given.
  3. People took ownership. This ownership was for their perceived part in the process through to problem resolution. The Support Consultant, the Practice Manager, the Solution Lead and finally me as the Client Director.

This was a great example to me of how when we successfully interact with our customers we can bring a positive touch to the event and ensure that everyone’s a winner. In this case it’s the customer’s Portal being available for weekend web traffic but it could equally apply to a problem in a software deployment, a tricky communication about a sensitive matter or a tricky software bug found in user testing.

Companies with people who match or better their customers’ expectations will both grow and keep their competitors at bay.

Posted by: Richard Drake, Client Director | 13 June 2016

Tags: Quality, Customer Satisfaction

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